Changing timelines in a contract

Can deadlines be changed if set out in contract?
By Brian Johnston
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 07/06/2016

Question: If a contract with an independent contractor contains deadlines and specific timelines for the work, is there a risk of breaching the contract if the timelines change?

Answer: Yes, in any contract, a failure to complete contractual undertakings or obligations by a specified date may be grounds for a breach of contract claim. Simply put, parties are obliged to live up to the terms they agree to in a contract; if the contractual terms include specific deadlines or timelines for the completion of certain works, a party risks breaching the contract if they fail to meet these deadlines.

In determining whether there has been a breach and if so, the appropriate remedy, courts will consider both the intended nature of the contractual term and the actual effect of the breach. While, for the most part, strict performance of contractual obligations is required, depending on the language of the agreement and the circumstances surrounding the alleged breach, courts may not consider a missed deadline important enough to warrant damages or termination of the agreement.